Start a fitness habit and you will not fail this January. To get yourself fit this January, you will want to make sure that your motivation sticks and that you’re able to achieve your goals. Many of us make a vow each New Year’s Day to adopt clean, healthy living and get ourselves well, but the majority of these resolutions have fallen by the wayside by the time February comes around. What is the key to ensuring that you stick to your goals? How can you make sure that week after week, your motivation stays high? Psychological studies suggest that the 21 day habit theory could be the key to success.
Much of human behaviour is based around habit forming – repeated actions that become routine, and create a big part of who a person is and what they do. Habits can be positive or negative: you might make it a habit to always check your doors are locked before you leave for work, or you may have a habit of leaving your keys in the door and risking a break in. The way habits form has been studied for years, and Charles Duhigg’s book on the 21 day theory offers the most compelling evidence.
Keep going for 21 days and you will have your fitness habit!
This theory states that if the same behaviour is repeated every day for three weeks, it will become a habit. The person will start to complete the action through muscle memory, or start to feel a need to do the action. It will stick for as long as the person allows it, and when that habit is a negative one it can start to cause problems. Many people have a habit of selecting comforting unhealthy foods over healthy ones or choosing sedentary activities instead of exercise. To break these habits, they need to be replaced with new, positive ones.
When it comes to fitness, developing good habits is the best way to ensure that healthy living stays with you. At first, it can be easy to get demotivated when you try to start a workout plan – after all, changing your habits is a tricky task once you have become set in your ways. However, to ensure that you keep at it and to help exercise become a part of your daily routine, make sure you stick at it for 21 days. As the theory goes, by the end of those three weeks you will have made exercise a habit rather than a chore, and it will be much easier to keep at it in the coming months and years. To reinforce this desire to succeed, make sure you keep track of your fitness progress through the 21 days. As you start to see results, you will have much more of a reason to keep building that fitness habit – and to reach your goals.